Koran: 2024 Session Kick-Off

Friends and Neighbors, Just when we thought winter was going to hold out on us, it decided to show up just in time for the legislative session. While I do appreciate the time I can take staying in-district to meet with constituents during the interim, a little bit of snow isn't going to hold me back from the excitement of getting back to business at the capitol. It truly is a privilege to serve the residents of Chisago and Isanti Counties in the Minnesota Senate. Capital Improvements Bonding Tour You may have heard this legislative session referred to as a "bonding year". A legislative biennium is typically split into a policy year (last year) and a bonding [...]

Koran: Transportation Bill—Wins and Losses

Friends and neighbors –I write this on the morning of Monday, May 22nd. The legislature is required to adjourn tonight at midnight, and there is still quite a bit of work left for Democrats to do.I wish I could say that there is work left for us to do. But the truth is that, try as we might, Democrats have shown no interest in working together on any of the major issues.We have offered good amendments to improve their bills; they have rejected them or deleted them in conference committee. We have made numerous offers to help us bridge some of the divides we face; we have been told ‘no’ every single time. We have asked for an inclusive, [...]

Koran: Judiciary and Public Safety Bill – Great for criminals, bad for the rest of us

Friends and neighbors, On Friday the Senate passed a public safety budget agreement. Virtually all of the feedback I have received about this issue have told me the same thing: invest in police. Put more good cops on the streets. Get tough on criminals. Hold judges and prosecutors accountable. The Democrats’ bill does none of these things. It is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card for criminals that will make thousands of convicted criminals eligible for early release, including violent offenders and juveniles that commit heinous crimes. The House-Senate conference committee agreement is even worse than the Senate Democrat version of the bill. The conference committee, which had no Republican members, removed funding for three important provisions: mental [...]

Koran: School Budgets, Election Bill, and Taxes

Serious Concerns From Schools About Democrat Budget Proposal Friends and Neighbors, Empty classroom with no students For most of this session, I have been getting frantic calls from school officials, teachers, and superintendents in our area. They have all expressed nearly the same concern: while they are happy about proposed funding increases in the Democrat education budget, schools are actually going to lose money because Democrats are proposing so many expensive mandates. They have told me flat out that these mandates will eat up all of the funding increases, and then some. They have shared budget breakdowns of the losses that are forthcoming. One suburban superintendent recently told his school board, “This is potentially one of [...]

Koran: Elections and Tax Updates

Senate Elections Bill Makes our Elections Riskier, Weaker, Less Transparent, and Less Trustworthy Friends and neighbors, On Thursday night, the Senate approved the Democrats’ partisan election bill. As the lead Republican on the elections committee, I can tell you that the bill is troubling. It makes Minnesota’s elections weaker, riskier, less transparent, and less trustworthy. Minnesota has a long tradition of only approving election law changes with bipartisan support precisely to avoid bills like this. It is disappointing that Democrats have thrown out that time-honored custom. We should prioritize efforts to help our local elections officials run safe, secure, transparent, and accessible elections. This bill takes us in the opposite direction. Key provisions of the bill: Moves Minnesota closer [...]

Koran: Get Out of Jail Free Cards?

Public Safety Bill Will Make 92% of Inmates Eligible for ReleaseI voted no on this bill because it simply amounts to a get-out-of-jail-free card for criminals. Their bill reduces prison time from 2/3 of an offender's sentence to half, which would release about 7,400 inmates from incarceration. Also, the Sentencing Guidelines Commission will begin a “comprehensive review” of sentencing guidelines. Given the commission and Gov. Walz’s recent emphasis on letting offenders out early, I am concerned about the motivation for this review and what the result will be. A shocking 92% of inmates will be eligible to be released from prison under the Democrat bill. While the bill does provide funding for important initiatives such as school safety, human [...]

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